Dean Castle Project

Dean Castle is home to collections of objects that are of international significance. From the exquisite craftsmanship and rarity of the musical instrument collection to the Viking sword that fires the imagination, the Dean Castle collections - as well as the buildings themselves - represent over 150 years of collecting and over 1,000 years of the history of Ayrshire, its people, and beyond.During the past few years the Keep has experienced varying degrees of water ingress. Until recently this issue was manageable, however the problem has got steadily worse, with the water penetration reaching a saturated level, unable to completely dry out and resulting in mould and mortar sections flaking from the walls. With the safety of our visitors and collections at risk, the Keep was closed two years ago and the collections moved out of the building. With funding approved from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland, East Ayrshire Council and East Ayrshire Leisure are now in a position to restore the Keep building as well as other buildings on-site,improve access and review the displays of the collection, exhibition programme and related activities.
During the process of the securing funding and developing plans East Ayrshire Leisure and East Ayrshire Council consulted with visitors, Kilmarnock & District Access Panel and Dean Castle Focus Group. These groups and individuals from local communities have been crucial in the project development through asking questions, expressing opinions and presenting ideas. Working with local communities to share information and receive public opinion on the management of our heritage assets is an important aspect of the work of East Ayrshire Leisure. As well as being a great asset to Kilmarnock, Dean Castle and the country park welcomes visitors from around the world, and has the potential to offer much more to its local visitors as well as those from further afield. There are a number of ways in which you can take part in the project, during the refurbishment and on completion of the building work and redisplays of the collections.
Voluntary positions:

Focus Group - A core of around 12 interested individuals who expressed an interest in working with us on developing the plans for this project. It was set up as a direct consequence of recent audience survey activities, which produced extremely useful visitor and marketing data. An estimated 6 Focus Group meetings will take place throughout the lifetime of the project.
Friends of the Museum Group - We are also looking to start a Museums Friends group that can get more involved in the our high profile work that we carry out across all our museums which include: Dick Institute, Dean Castle, Burns House Museum & Library and Baird Institute. We envisage that this group would meet four times each year and could support our work in a wide range of ways covering all aspects of our museums.
Castle Champions  - 10 places per year – individuals who will help us promote the castle and its activities within our local communities
Gallery Attendants - 2-4 places per year – to assist visitors and invigilation
Audience Research & Marketing - 2 places per year
Collections - Up to 2 places per year - assist with collection care activities

Other positions:
Work Experience - Up to 2 placements per year – for local school children
Textile Team -
Join our highly successful and popular team to conserve objects, create replica and handling items, and more.
Find out more about the project here

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* 1. Please tick which voluntary position you are interested in and we will contact you with more details

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* 2. Please enter your email address and we will contact you with more information about the position you are interested in